Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Mon 15 Mar 2021 17:58

Thanks everyone for the comments, very helpful stuff!

I'm not looking to recreate the exact sound of TESB with this template but rather the qualities of what I like in TESB, which is basically the whole close-but-with-room feel. My reasoning is that while I can probably gear a template toward recreating a specific track (to some extent) the mixes are too different to get some kind of generic template out of it.

Cathbad has now put me on different path, trying to bring in more reverb and depth into the mix.

That said, I will accept the challenge to mockup the first 30 seconds of that track, but it will require a different setup. The only thing I might pick from the current template for that is the CSB horn. The pizzes are going to be hell because I don't think I have any that have enough 'pluck' to them. Maaaaybe sable or hws, or perhaps good old symphobia.... the clarinet is also going to be a challenge...

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FriFlo
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by FriFlo » Mon 15 Mar 2021 19:09

Headshot wrote: Mon 15 Mar 2021 17:10
FriFlo wrote: Sun 14 Mar 2021 18:10 I would rather recommend replicating something from that score and compare it to the original. That will help you much more in finding the right mic positions, processing and complementary libraries then your original compositions.
Yes, you could start with the first 30 seconds :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzAZQrOoAwA&ab
The harp is pretty loud on this track in the beginning. Sounds like they added quite a lot of close mic there. Other than that: great suggestion! All those shorts and piccicatos in a very transparent orchestration will certainly help to define space and colors!

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Mon 15 Mar 2021 19:29

In the meantime I can confirm that good ol' symphobia's pizzes come closest (out of all the things I have), they're quite pretty actually :)

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FriFlo
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by FriFlo » Mon 15 Mar 2021 20:56

I'd try SF Chamber Strings layered with some others. I combed them together with Berlin Strings (for the depth) and some LASS (which is not very expressive, but adds some nice dry sound to it). I am sure there are many options, but with this, I would recommend a small section like Chamber strings with many verlocity layers and add multiple together. Also playing them in one by one might improve the liveliness.

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Cathbad
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Cathbad » Mon 15 Mar 2021 21:46

macaroniman wrote: Mon 15 Mar 2021 17:58
Cathbad has now put me on different path, trying to bring in more reverb and depth into the mix.

Well... There's no rule that says you must have one template and mixing setup. Nor is it compulsory to copy particular recordings. It's a useful exercise, but you can actually present the music as you see fit. Your own personal judgements about what rendition best represents the dots on the page, and what mixing best suits it, is just as valid as Joe Big Name Engineer.

The main choice in doing mockups of Star Wars music, in my opinion, is whether to do it as a studio recording or as a concert performance. The ambience of the spaces is obviously different. However, the main difference is the numbers of players. The sessions had some extra wind and brass players and a studio-sized string section. In the room, I imagine the strings were somewhat overpowered, but of course only the recording was intended to be heard. Concert performances generally use triple woodwind, a standard brass section and a symphonic sized string section. They're balanced according to the usual orchestral practice: enthusiasm level of the strings, worry over reeds in the woodwinds, delight at having some tasty parts to play in the brass and whether or not the percussionists manage to stay awake.

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Headshot
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Headshot » Mon 15 Mar 2021 21:49

LASS divisi/solo at very low velocity are good for that kind of stuff.

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Mon 15 Mar 2021 22:45

FriFlo wrote: Mon 15 Mar 2021 20:56 I'd try SF Chamber Strings layered with some others. I combed them together with Berlin Strings (for the depth) and some LASS (which is not very expressive, but adds some nice dry sound to it). I am sure there are many options, but with this, I would recommend a small section like Chamber strings with many verlocity layers and add multiple together. Also playing them in one by one might improve the liveliness.
Sable is gathering dust on an archive drive and I have to shuffle a boatload of stuff around to make it fit, so haven't bothered to try those yet. Symphobia really sounded quite close, I just think I need to narrow it a touch.
Cathbad wrote: Mon 15 Mar 2021 21:46
macaroniman wrote: Mon 15 Mar 2021 17:58
Cathbad has now put me on different path, trying to bring in more reverb and depth into the mix.

Well... There's no rule that says you must have one template and mixing setup. Nor is it compulsory to copy particular recordings. It's a useful exercise, but you can actually present the music as you see fit. Your own personal judgements about what rendition best represents the dots on the page, and what mixing best suits it, is just as valid as Joe Big Name Engineer.

The main choice in doing mockups of Star Wars music, in my opinion, is whether to do it as a studio recording or as a concert performance. The ambience of the spaces is obviously different. However, the main difference is the numbers of players. The sessions had some extra wind and brass players and a studio-sized string section. In the room, I imagine the strings were somewhat overpowered, but of course only the recording was intended to be heard. Concert performances generally use triple woodwind, a standard brass section and a symphonic sized string section. They're balanced according to the usual orchestral practice: enthusiasm level of the strings, worry over reeds in the woodwinds, delight at having some tasty parts to play in the brass and whether or not the percussionists manage to stay awake.
That's all true but the point I was trying to make is that your comments made me think about the stereo depth of the template so I was busy working on that. Once that's done (working on another short action piece) I'll get to Headshot's challenge.

And yes, orchestra stereotypes are definitely a thing lol. I know all about the reeds...

Thanks again everyone for engaging. This community may be tiny but it's nice to be here and (hopefully) learn from the best :)

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Tue 16 Mar 2021 07:40

This is my new action piece guys xD

It looks post-modern, doesn't it?

Image

Just had a good laugh about Cubase trying to notate my piano sketch (it's actually a really useful tool when used properly, I wouldn't do without it).

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Fri 19 Mar 2021 11:30

I've tried to make the strings more roomy. The risk (esp with CSS) is that roomy = boomy. Note, this is only an excerpt of the strings part of the piece:



There is some HWS in there for the string run and some layering on accents.

I should probably let this piece sit for a while and try the SW mockup - getting some ear fatigue on this template to the point where I can't really tell anymore if I am making the right decisions.

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Headshot
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Headshot » Fri 9 Apr 2021 21:59

macaroniman wrote: Fri 19 Mar 2021 11:30
too harsh IMO, it sounds like an excessive use of Gullfoss

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Sun 11 Apr 2021 19:24

Headshot wrote: Fri 9 Apr 2021 21:59
macaroniman wrote: Fri 19 Mar 2021 11:30
too harsh IMO, it sounds like an excessive use of Gullfoss
Thanks for the feedback! Didn't use any gulfoss, it's only my own incompetence, the A.I is innocent! Any specific range that's bothering you? I think I had a high shelf boost on this, but I can't look at the project right now since I've just setup a new computer.

It's part of this piece, still a work in progress. Strings sit more in the background here which maybe is why I didn't notice the harshness as much:


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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Sun 18 Apr 2021 13:46

Sorry for the spam guys. I ended up doing a different Star Wars mockup:



I know I can get closer to the actual recording by using a different horn for the main melody, but that isn't the point. I just wanted to see if this CSS/W/B could do star wars reasonably well, and I've also tried to improve the overall sound a bit.

Any broken SoundCloud links you may see is because I customized the URL, thinking soundcloud would be smart enough to redirect the old one, but alas...

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Cathbad
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Cathbad » Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04

macaroniman wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 13:46
Any broken SoundCloud links you may see is because I customized the URL, thinking soundcloud would be smart enough to redirect the old one, but alas...
Annoying isn't it?

To me it sounds superb up to 0:20. Nice horn.

From the tutti onwards, I think the phrasing is a bit flat. Bit more rubato would be nice, and I think your tempo is a touch bright compared to the cue.

Yours is a half step lower or are my ears playing tricks on me?

There's a nice crispness to the LSO low brass from that era. Players who coached me as a student and who I was later very pleased to sit next to on the job. Although I like CSB, it's not the most helpful library to emulate their sound, in my opinion, for arcane brass playing reasons I won't bore you with.

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Project Anvil
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Project Anvil » Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:54

Cathbad wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04 Annoying isn't it?
Quite, but not the end of the world.
Cathbad wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04 To me it sounds superb up to 0:20. Nice horn.
Thanks!
Cathbad wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04 From the tutti onwards, I think the phrasing is a bit flat. Bit more rubato would be nice, and I think your tempo is a touch bright compared to the cue.
I A/B'd with the original a few more times, and you're right. I'll have another look at the tempo map.
Cathbad wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04 Yours is a half step lower or are my ears playing tricks on me?
It shouldn't be? I put everything in straight a photocopy of the score. If I look on YT I can find a version that is half step up though.
Wrong one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gpXMGit4P8

Correct one:
https://youtu.be/iC5JjKZLSOs?t=136
Cathbad wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:04 There's a nice crispness to the LSO low brass from that era. Players who coached me as a student and who I was later very pleased to sit next to on the job. Although I like CSB, it's not the most helpful library to emulate their sound, in my opinion, for arcane brass playing reasons I won't bore you with.
Please do bore me with the details! I would love to learn! I did not know you studied with LSO brass players, and frankly I would have been interested into hearing from a brass player regardless. Could you clarify a bit about what you mean with brightness? I have a couple of hunches, but would love to hear from you. My guess would be that you're referring to the sound being more brassy (more towards cuivre), more upfront and possibly, playing a little sharp/with more edge?

And you're probably right about CSB which is probably just the dark sound of Trackdown coming through.I think I could probably remedy the dull/darkness of the sound with HWB which has a brighter tone overall or Caspian, or you can have another go at convincing me to get 8dio Century Brass :)

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Cathbad
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Re: Cinematic Studio Mixing experiments

Post by Cathbad » Sat 24 Apr 2021 15:01

Project Anvil wrote: Sun 18 Apr 2021 15:54 Please do bore me with the details! I would love to learn! I did not know you studied with LSO brass players, and frankly I would have been interested into hearing from a brass player regardless. Could you clarify a bit about what you mean with brightness? I have a couple of hunches, but would love to hear from you. My guess would be that you're referring to the sound being more brassy (more towards cuivre), more upfront and possibly, playing a little sharp/with more edge?
I've been giving some thought to this. It's difficult to describe the subtle differences in words: these things have to be heard in person. Many brass libraries aim to represent a particular sound, but a cursory glance at repertoire written around the same time shows that brass can give you all sorts (Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin, Respighi's Pines of Rome and Sibelius's 5th Symphony were all written within a few years of each other, for example).

There is a distinction between American and British brass playing, with Canadians and Australians somewhere in the middle. Part of this can be traced back to the people who actually blew the instruments. Many founding members of the American orchestras were immigrants from central and Eastern Europe: a slightly different soundworld with slightly different playing fashions compared to Britain.

Another important factor is equipment. Again, this can be traced back to the early 20th century where there were some important design breakthroughs made by American craftsmen. For many years, post WW2, British instrument manufacturers lobbied government to embargo importation of these US instruments to protect their own business. There is a couple of very clear examples of this. Firstly, in the British use of the Eb tuba, which is basically a giant euphonium. It's not used anywhere else, and was a design from the British company Boosey & Hawkes. Secondly, British bass trombonists used an instrument pitched in G with a valve to lower the pitch to D. Like the Eb tuba, it wasn't used anywhere else and was a B & H design. This and the tenor trombones were small bore instruments with some pretty uncompromising bite to the sound. They finally fell out of use when trade opened up a bit in the 1960s and players acquired large bore American instruments in Bb/F with a warmer, rounder sound.

There are also some finer points. American orchestral trumpeters prefer the instrument in C rather than Bb. You'll notice that CSB trumpets (superb playing from Australians) only go down to F#, instead of the low E available on the Bb trumpet. Americans use BBb or CC tubas of designs more similar to German instruments. Two dominant trombone designs emerged early in the 20th century, and there has been endless debate since about which is "best." One is somewhat more free blowing and characterised by clarity of sound. The other has a slightly more compact feel to play and sounds richer. The former is favoured by Americans, the latter by British. It's the same kind of story with horns. Americans (particularly bass trombonists) tend to use much larger mouthpieces that their British counterparts. A couple of mm difference here makes a huge difference to what comes out of the end of the instrument.

In terms of technical execution, there are only tiny differences. Americans tend to render sustained notes as very sustained: brick shaped, as it were. British players shape the envelope a bit more. What is considered good legato for US players has more of a "click" from note to note, whereas British players will make more of the transition between notes. But I should mention that the performing space is also a big influence on what instrument to use and how to play it, in order to sound good to the audience. For example, not-so-good halls in New York and Chicago gave rise to particular ways of playing that produced good results there. Because they're superb players, this is then taken as synonymous with good brass playing: an unfortunate misconception because it's specifically adapted to a particular musical context.

Broadly, I would describe the British sound as solid, rich and focused. A massive and diffuse sound is considered very undesirable. There is brightness without being harsh, in the sense of liveliness. The Americans seem to favour a clear and pure sound, rather than a rich one, and it is typically somewhat wider. The brightness is in the sense of brilliance and sizzle. All completely context and repertoire dependent, of course: context that is absent from the playing recorded for a virtual brass library... Hence the difficulty trying to get an adequate palette of music-specific timbres out of CSB or Berlin Brass, or any other library.





Enough blathering. Here are some examples which I hope illustrate some of the above points.


London Philharmonic Orchestra (horns are obviously bouncing off the back wall and therefore sound consistently late lol)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvJlt0Uvf_4



New York Philharmonic Orchestra (note the C trumpets)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLMVB0B1_Ts



Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

The bass trombonist is Ray Premru, ironically an American but he spent his career in England. You'll recognise THAT sound from 007 soundtracks. That kind of focus and projection is a small inheritance from the bite of the G bass trombone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAtaAwXgYME


Empire Brass Quintet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9bCmb_yQrY

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